It’s that time of year and we all could benefit from some help to keep well this season. Whether you have been infected with the bug or have been exposed to people who have…this article is for you! Discover the healing benefits of herbal remedies and natural care plans to get you back in life!
You know that you need more rest and actual sleep to stay well, right? Yes, it is true! Your body heals while you sleep. Wounds close up, snot dries up, and your cells regenerate. Taking conventional medicines to temporarily stop cold and flu symptoms will not heal you. These medications use strong chemicals to give you relief for a few hours. This is a great tool to have in your healing toolbox when you have an important meeting or plane travel that you can’t easily cancel.
Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily for optimal health. When you are sick with a cough or excessive nasal mucus, your body needs even more water to flush out your system. Pure, filtered water served cold or hot will benefit you in multiple ways. If you are taking strong herbal tinctures and don’t enjoy the taste, consider adding them to a tall glass of water to dilute. Add lemons or limes for added vitamin C.
Hot tea with local honey is soothing to a dry, scratchy throat. When using specific herbal teas tailored to your symptoms, research which part of the plant is the best. In some instances, the root of an herb is the most potent. Chopping and boiling is the best way to extract the goods from roots. Consider steeping teas made from dried flowers and leaves for 4 or more hours for medicinal benefits. Meditative State of Mind is a soothing blend, perfect to relax you and soothe your throat.
Adding lemon is a smart choice for teas when you are sick. You will add more vitamin C to your drink, as well as a fresh tart flavor. Local honey helps decrease allergies by ingesting the local pollen. The concept is similar to allergy shots but in the most natural and delicious way!
Most of us have heard of this immune-boosting herb. Take echinacea in capsule, tincture, or tea form. The roots, seeds, and fresh flowers of echinacea will aid in your recovery and speed up healing. When you have been exposed to illnesses that you want to avoid, add this beneficial herb to your daily routine for up to 10 days. When you feel the beginnings of a sickness coming on, take this herb. When you are fully sick and there is no mistaking it, add this herb to your routine. Use with precaution during pregnancy and breastfeeding (make sure to not take formulas with goldenseal when pregnant or breastfeeding.)
Ginger and Garlic
The taste of these amazing roots is not for everyone. However, they are healing in magical ways! For more than 5,000 years, people have used garlic for colds, urinary tract infections, and healing of all kinds! Peel, chop and boil garlic or swallow whole (after you peel an individual clove.)
Ginger is strong and I love it! If you are not so keen on the taste, add lemon and honey for a hot and spicy ginger lemonade. Lemon, honey, and ginger are all helpful in boosting your immunity and for healing.
Elderberry is becoming widely known as a natural remedy for cold and flu symptoms. Sambucus nigra is the real name. Elderberry can inhibit the enzyme that flu viruses use to penetrate cell membranes. Elderberry syrup is delicious and tolerable by most, including children. I don’t always want to add extra sugars to my system when I am sick. This keeps me from enjoying the benefits of this amazing herb. How about using elderberry in tea? This is a wonderful alternative to the sugary-sweet syrup.
Peppermint can be added to any tea you make when suffering from a cough and stuffy nose. Peppermint tastes great when added to most tea blends and has benefits. You will notice it is added to conventional decongestants and cough drops already. This isn’t just for the taste! Peppermint will open pores in the body to allow heat to escape when you have a fever.
Thyme is a great herb for supporting the immune system and for clearing up mucus in the lungs. Thyme is also good for relieving the pain of headaches and body aches caused by the flu. It is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. As an added benefit it will increase your mood and we could all use that when we are feeling sick!
Rosemary is fabulous for flu symptoms and smells amazing! If you don’t have rosemary growing in your garden, it’s time to start. It is very hardy and low-maintenance in many climates. Rosemary is wonderful to take when you want to add extra vitamin C and A. It is anti-fungal, like garlic, and anti-bacterial. Rosemary is known for fighting infection. It is amazing in an herbal steam with fresh leaves from the garden. Make a tea with the fresh or dried leaves and steep for at least an hour for a strong infusion of this fragrant herb.
Peppermint, lemon, thyme, rosemary, and eucalyptus are all wonderful essential oils to add in your diffuser when you are sick. Adding peppermint oil in a facial steam will help to break up congestion. Rosemary and thyme will do the same thing. Choose just one oil to start before trying blends to make sure you are not sensitive to them. In one heat-proof big bowl, add one drop of essential oil and cover your head with a towel about 1-2 feet away from the steam. For 3-5 minutes, breathe in the steam while your nose drips into the bowl. Take deep breaths allowing it to penetrate into your lungs.
The phrase “starve a fever and feed a cold” is just an old-wives’ tale. Feed yourself whether you are sick or not. When you are ill, this is the time to pay extra attention to consuming healthy whole foods. If your sickness leaves you without an appetite, try soups and smoothies to get nutritious foods in your body with minimal effort. Chinese medicine recommends only having warm foods and drinks to benefit digestion and speed up healing. But if smoothies are your thing, you can add fresh green and beet juice to increase the vitamin and mineral content.
Rest, eat warm foods, take your herbs, and drink your tea…for healing, this season.
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden
Gainesville Florida freelance writer and editor